ROCHELLE – Crowds of people gathered in the parking lot of the new Love’s travel center on the south side of town on Friday morning to witness the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for the business and also the newly remolded Steward road.
“We are having an official ribbon cutting with the city, we have been open now for a little over a week. They are doing the official opening for the redesign of Steward road as well, so we are kind of doing a combo,” said Wade Embree, Loves representative and general manager.
Members of the community, city workers and Rochelle Mayor John Bearrows came out to celebrate the new addition to the town. Speeches were given at the ceremony by the mayor, city leaders and the Love’s representative and general manager.
Plans for the center have been in the works for the past few years, with construction going on since October of 2018. City officials believe the operation will bring many new jobs to the southern section of town.
“We have hired a lot of the local community, we now have 80 employees between three concepts so that has been very good for us as well,” added Embree.
According to Bearrows, the scope of the projects called for everyone involved to come together and work as a team.
“What would be one word to describe these two projects, it really came down to commitment. This was a culmination of work and concerted effort that related to commitment from everyone involved,” added Bearrows.
The location of the travel center is the only one located on Interstate 88 between DeKalb and Dixon, with the nearest Love’s location in Roscoe. Along with helping reduce in-town traffic and bringing jobs, city officials are hoping it will increased future development in the southern half of town.
“The City of Rochelle has a tremendous amount of things going right now and we are going to see some exciting growth in the future,” said Bearrows, adding that Johnson Tractor has already purchased property at the east end of the new development and will begin construction in the fall of this year or spring of next year.
The travel center will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will feature a Hardees, a country store, a full functioning Speedco tire shop and places for both trucks and automobiles to refuel.
“Love’s has made an investment in our community. And we look forward to a long, successful, loving relationship for years to come,” said Michelle Pease, community development director.